Bust of Headley unveiled at Lucas CC
TWENTY-NINE years after his death, George Headley, the legendary West Indian cricketer, is still being recognised.
Lucas Cricket Club, the 117-year-old institution where Headley honed his craft, on Saturday unveiled a sculpted bust of the iconic batsman who averaged a remarkable 60.83 from 22 Test matches with 10 centuries.
Headley's recognition was part of a week-long activity, dubbed 'Lucas Classic Week', organised by the club's executive and aimed at rejuvenating the financially-strapped club that has produced nine Test players, including Chris Gayle, currently one of the world's most feared batsmen.
In an effort to address structural and financial concerns, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has made available US$5,000 to clubs like Lucas once certain criteria are met.
But the desperate demand for liquidity far outweighs supply and current president O'neil Cruickshank and other members of the board are seeking new innovations in the hope of a renaissance for the first black cricket club in Jamaica.
"Lucas' emphasis has always been on developing not just cricket careers, but lives that can contribute positively to families and the society," said Cruickshank, himself a former player who became president in 2001.
"However, in recent times, Lucas, like most of the traditional cricket clubs in Jamaica, has found it difficult to carry through on its plans and mandate.
"As a consequence of its inability to find the necessary funding to maintain its operations and teams, the cricket performances of the club have suffered, while some members have either migrated or lost interest.
"The Lucas Cricket Club is intent on recapturing its past glory and to return to producing players for Jamaica and West Indies team, while positively impacting the lives of the young people who come through its gates," he said.
Dubbed 'The Atlas' and the 'Black Bradman', Headley inspired players and fans alike and the aura and conviction with which he played today gives rise to the West Indian way of playing.